Film review: Shell (15)


Newcomer Chloe Pirrie is exceptional as a 17-year-old girl coping with solitude in the remote, wind-whipped Scottish Highlands, running a petrol station.

Abandoned by her mother years ago, she can't get close to her taciturn, epileptic father (Joseph Mawle), a Hardyesque man of toil (dismantling cars, flaying deer). The other men who stop for a chat seem to be even lonelier than she is.

Writer-director Scott Graham patiently matches long silences to his characters' silent longings – for company, for connection – while Yoliswa Gärtig's luminous cinematography catches the daunting beauty, and emptiness, of the surrounding landscape.

For the second time in a month (after For Ellen) the ending quotes from Bob Rafelson's Five Easy Pieces.